May 28, 2023

File Compression with ‘tar’ command

Common Options

-c –create Create a new archive.
-x –extract Extract files from an archive.
-t –list List the contents of an archive.
-f –file=ARCHIVE Use archive file or dir ARCHIVE.
-v –verbose Verbosely list files processed.

Compression Options –

-a –auto-compress Use archive suffix to determine the
compression program.
-j –bzip2 Filter the archive through bzip2.
-J –xz –lzma Filter the archive through xz.
-z –gzip Filter the archive through gzip.

How to use Whatsapp and what its History

How to use Whatsapp and what its History

Compress a folder

This creates a simple archive of a folder :

tar -cf ./my-archive.tar ./my-folder/

Verbose output shows which files and directories are added to the archive, use the -v option:

tar -cvf ./my-archive.tar ./my-folder/

For archiving a folder compressed ‘gzip’, you have to use the -z option :

tar -czf ./my-archive.tar.gz ./my-folder/

You can instead compress the archive with ‘bzip2’, by using the -j option:

tar -cjf ./my-archive.tar.bz2 ./my-folder/

Or compress with ‘xz’, by using the -J option:

tar -cJf ./my-archive.tar.xz ./my-folder/

Extract a folder from an archive

There is an example for extract a folder from an archive in the current location :

tar -xf archive-name.tar

If you want to extract a folder from an archive to a specific destination :

tar -xf archive-name.tar -C ./directory/destination

List contents of an archive

List the contents of an archive file without extracting it:

 tar -tf archive.tar.gz

List archive content

There is an example of listing content :

tar -tvf archive.tar

The option -t is used for the listing. For listing the content of a tar.gz archive, you have to use the -z option anymore :

tar -tzvf archive.tar.gz

Compress and exclude one or multiple folders

If you want to extract a folder, but you want to exclude one or several folders during the extraction, you can use the –exclude option.

tar -cf archive.tar ./my-folder/ --exclude="my-folder/sub1" --exclude="my-folder/sub3"

With this folder tree :


The result will be :


Strip leading components

To strip any number of leading components, use the –strip-components option:

  strip NUMBER leading components from file names on extraction

For example to strip the leading folder, use:

tar -xf --strip-components=1 archive-name.tar

Vedant Singh

Currently I'm working as an Implementation Engineer, Started my career as an System Administrator - Linux. Additionally he loves to explore new technologies and research about new open-source software that ease the development cycle.

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